The Hyundai i10, or the Inokom i10 if you insist, has been in our market since 2008. Initially available with only the 1.1-litre Epsilon four-cylinder engine, local distributors Hyundai-Sime Darby Motor Sdn Bhd (HSDM) eventually bolstered the line-up with a more powerful 1.25-litre version last year.
We tested the 1.25 extensively, with both me and YS not hesitating in giving our thumbs up for the product. It is a little expensive when you stack it up against local offerings like the Perodua Myvi and Proton Persona, but the i10 charms us with its cheerful and fun to drive nature. A facelifted version of the i10 was introduced here by HSDM in July, and we have just reviewed it.
Well, to start with, it looks new. Things remain largely the same under the skin, but outwardly, the i10’s appearance has been botoxed to bring it inline with Hyundai’s current ‘fluidic sculpture’ look. The headlights, in particular, remind us of the company’s newest models such as the European-market i40 and the soon-to-arrive Avante/Elantra.
Engine options remain the same for the Malaysian market, so consumers continue to choose between the 1.1-litre Epsilon and 1.25-litre Kappa four-cylinder engines. The latter, however, has been improved to include Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) technology for improved power delivery, with its vital stats now reading 86hp @ 6,000rpm and 119.6Nm @ 4,000rpm.
|Headlights feature lines drawn from Hyundai’s latest products.|
Our test car for this review comes with the newly revised engine paired to a 4-speed automatic transmission, the only gearbox of choice. In terms of equipment, it is the top spec model, going for RM54,988 with insurance. This is our recommended pick of the range, as it is the only one equipped with dual airbags and front foglamps. Curiously, Hyundai did not provide a switch to operate them. The fog lamps switch on and off together with the main lights. One really has to wonder if this was a cost-cutting measure.
Sitting inside, the cabin architecture is instantly familiar to those who just came from the pre-facelift i10. Most notable change would be the revised instrument panel which now features a multi-info display that incorporates the digital odometer, trip meter, transmission position indicator and fuel gauge. However, the water temperature gauge, which was previously there, has been omitted.
|Instrument panel now features multi-info display.|
How does it Drive?
Those of us in the know have always lauded the i10 for being a fun little city car that never fails to put a smile on your face. There is nothing fancy about it, but when you drive it, everything just seems to feel right. Sensations you get from the steering and suspension suggest a car that is expertly honed.
Electric power steering is an increasingly popular choice amongst car maker these days, due to cost and practical considerations. Early iterations of this technology were chided for poor steering feel, but things are increasingly improved. Indeed, you only need to look at the i10 for an example of a well set-up electric steering rack. Weight and feedback levels are confidence inspiring, and the wheel does not feel over-assisted like many such setups.
Ride quality is impressively judged too. That elusive balance between ride comfort and handling prowess missed by many cars twice the price is nailed almost spot on by Hyundai in the i10. When you take one for a test drive, make a point to drive it over poorly tarred surfaces, and you will be amazed how it does not bounce or fidget about. It is also amusingly chuckable around corners, with the nose ever eager to head the direction which you point it to.
The big question of course is how the power hike has impacted the car, and when we tackle this question, the answer is not always positive. Sometimes, when you dial up the power output of an already well-judged setup, you risk upsetting the fine balance that made the original product such a joy in the first place. We have well-documented examples of such things happening, and happily, the i10 is not among them.
|Tail lights have been redesigned as well.|
Usually, things go wrong when the revision brings about too much power, an engine that is much too heavy, or a combination of both. Neither of these mistakes were made in moving from the 1.25 Kappa to the 1.25 Kappa CVVT. It is essentially the same engine with a CVVT module, and the increase in engine power is just enough to make the car feel livelier, but not enough to overwhelm its chassis.
The i10 is a hugely likable car after you spend a few kilometres with it, but people we have spoken to generally find it difficult to justify this over the Perodua Myvi. To them, the Myvi is a bigger car with a bigger engine offered at a lower or comparable price depending on variant. That the i10 is vastly more entertaining to drive somehow always escapes analysis.